What is Salivary Gland Cancer?
A human body has three major salivary glands – parotid, sublingual and submandibular – and these glands are all located under and behind the jaw. There are several tiny salivary glands that are also found in the cheeks, as well as in the throat and the mouth.
The most commonly affected salivary gland with cancer is the parotid gland which is located right in the front of the ear.
What are the signs and symptoms of Salivary Gland Cancers?
The signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancers may include:
- Swelling/lump on or near the jaw as well as the neck and the mouth
- Numbness in affected side of the face
- Muscle weakness in affected side of face
- Constant pain in the affected salivary gland area
- Problem with swallowing
- Problem opening mouth wide
What are the causes of Salivary Gland Cancers?
Although the exact causes of salivary gland cancers are not known there are several risk factors that have been identified that indicate towards the development of salivary gland cancers.
A mutation in the gene (DNA) of the salivary gland cells may cause cancerous cells to develop in it at an uncontrolled rate of growth. This eventually forms a tumor which can then also spread (metastasize) to the surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
What are the types of Salivary Gland Cancers?
There are various types of salivary gland cancers and they are distinguished according to the type of cells that are affected by it. This classification of the salivary gland cancer helps the doctor to determine the best-suited treatment method for it.
These are the various types of salivary gland cancers:
- Acinic cell carcinoma
- Adenoid cystic carcinoma
- Clear cell carcinoma
- Malignant mixed tumor
- Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
- Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma
- Oncocytic carcinoma
- Salivary duct carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
What are the risk factors that contribute to the development of Salivary Gland Cancer?
These are the identified risk factors that have been linked to the development of salivary gland cancer in a person:
- Advanced age – The salivary gland cancer is most likely to develop in older adults.
- Radiation exposure – Radiotherapy treatment to the head and neck for a prolonged period of time can result in development of salivary gland cancers.
- Chemical exposure – People in the rubber-making industry as well as plumbing and asbestos-mining are more at risk of developing salivary gland cancers.
- Viral infections – There are several viruses that can cause the growth of salivary gland tumors, such as the HIV, human papillomavirus and the Epstein-Barr virus.
How are Salivary Gland Cancers diagnosed?
Diagnostic test for salivary gland cancers include:
The doctor will check the jaw, throat and the neck for swelling or lumps.
Diagnostic imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests as well as computerized tomography (CT) scans help to determine the size and the exact location of the salivary gland cancer.
This test involves removing a small portion of the salivary gland cancer tissue and sending it for detailed analysis at a pathology lab in order to determine the type of salivary gland cancer and to plan its treatment strategy accordingly.
How is Salivary Gland Cancer treated?
There are various salivary gland cancer treatment methods available and the best form of treatment will depend on various factors, such as the type, size and the stage (progress) of the cancer. The patient’s overall health is also taken into consideration.
These are the various types of treatment methods for salivary gland cancers:
There are several methods of surgeries that are performed to treat salivary gland cancers, such as:
- Partial Salivary Gland removal – This surgery involves removing the small and easy-to-access tumor from inside the salivary gland using surgical methods. It also requires removing a small portion of the surrounding healthy tissue in order to prevent the cancer from recurring in the area.
- Removing Salivary Gland – This surgery involves removing the entire salivary gland in case it is affected with a large-sized tumor. In case the cancer has spread from the salivary gland to the other surrounding organs and parts of the body, such as facial nerves, salivary gland connecting ducts, facial skin and bones, these might also be required to remove.
- Lymph Node removal – In case the cancer has spread from the salivary gland to the lymph nodes in the neck then the surgeon will perform a neck dissection to remove the cancerous lymph nodes in the neck.
- Reconstructive surgery – In case the skin, nerves or bones are removed to treat salivary gland cancer, they may need to be repaired or replaced to restore their functioning. This surgery is performed by experienced plastic (cosmetic) surgeons.
This salivary gland cancer treatment method involves using high-powered beams of energy particles (x-rays, etc) to target the tumor (cancerous cells) in the salivary gland. This is performed by using an external radiation device. This therapy is also used as a palliative method to shrink the size of a larger tumor so it can be then easily removed using surgical methods.
This salivary gland cancer treatment includes using specially-designed medicinal drugs to target and kill the cancerous cells (tumor). This is an ideal form of salivary gland cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the surrounding parts of the body.
Why choose Travcure for Salivary Gland Cancer treatment in India?
Travcure is the largest and the most popular medical tourism service provider in India. It is connected to a large and sophisticated network of global-class healthcare facilities spread across all major cities of India, such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, etc. These are highly-advanced and modern medical facilities that are equipped with the latest and ultra-modern cancer care and treatment technology. Travcure offers every patient with a bespoke treatment package that allows for the most efficient and affordable salivary gland cancer treatment in India.